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Barclay James  Harvest - Victims Of Circumstance CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.27 | 90 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars There's really nothing I find appealing about this album, and really I should probably stop here. I won't of course, but I should.

My biggest problem with this album is that it is so deeply and unequivocally a complete and utter product of the eighties major label/MTV-driven commercial sound that I can barely listen to it today. It probably doesn't help that I never even knew this album existed until about a year ago, so I never had the opportunity to bond and form memories with it back when it would have been considered a lot more palatable than it is today.

Barclay James Harvest have always been heavily influenced by their surroundings, whether it be the locale and/or studio they are recording in, the whims and tendencies of their producers, or even local events and trends. Besides maybe their very first album I can't really see where the band set out with a firm plan and direction and put together an album that was wholly their own vision. And I don't mean that to be a derogatory statement, just an observation that helps explain why they would crank out another commercially-oriented record with just enough orchestra to remind folks these are BJH but far too much eighties sheen and trite lyrics to have any hope of becoming a classic or even solid progressive rock album.

The band really crossed over with 1979's 'XII', but with this album there is no doubt they've left any progressive inclinations or intentions behind. The closest they come is the title track which has the distinction of decent female backing vocals and some horns (both rarities for a BJH song), but also for some reason gives me a strong vibe of an early seventies Motown tune. I keep expecting Marvin Gaye to start belting out 'What's going on' at any moment.

Otherwise pretty much every track matches the bland and unoriginal level of the most forgettable songs on 'XII', 'Eyes of the Universe', 'Turn of the Tide' and 'Ring of Changes', all marginal albums with but a few saving graces. This one doesn't even have that. I can't bring myself to give a Barclay James Harvest album only one star, but if I were to ever do so this would be that album. Two stars (barely), and not recommended.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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